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Coronavirus, the Halving and a Price Drop: Bitcoin Mining Marches On

Despite the global turmoil caused by the coronavirus and a looming reward halving, the Bitcoin mining industry appears optimistic.

The post Coronavirus, the Halving and a Price Drop: Bitcoin Mining Marches On appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

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CoinShares, a New York-based cryptocurrency service that provides advice and other services for investors, released a statement on the state of Bitcoin mining during the global uncertainty caused by the coronavirus, ahead of a planned, more thorough June 2020 mining report.

In it, CoinShares’ research director Christopher Bendiksen wrote that the current talk of a possible mining “death spiral” due to coronavirus-based lockdowns makes for dramatic reading, but is not at all based in reality.

“‘Mining death spirals’ do not actually happen in real life,” Bendiksen wrote in the statement. “They are highly theoretical edge cases without any historical real-world precedent … Mining is here to stay.”

Confidence in the mining space and in bitcoin generally, despite economic uncertainty around the world, is high at the firm.

“Bitcoin is arguably the only financial asset that can operate remotely — nobody needs to go to work to make bitcoin work,” Danny Masters, executive chairman of CoinShares, wrote in a supplementary statement sent to Bitcoin Magazine. “Nobody needs to fill an ATM machine. While things look bleak for everything, I can’t think of a better asset to buy than bitcoin.”

Difficulty, Block Frequency and Hashrate

The cost of Bitcoin mining is largely a function of the difficulty — a dynamic metric determined by the protocol itself that can adjust both up and down to keep block times at 10 minutes on average.

The difficulty has reset downwards many times — sometimes dramatically as the result of a pullback in price, as in November and December of 2018 — but the network has never ground to a complete halt or even come anywhere close to doing so.

“There is no price level that could cause Bitcoin’s emission rate to increase,” reads Benedickson’s statement. “When the dust settles on the current financial crisis, the Bitcoin monetary system will have created exactly as many bitcoins as originally intended.”

In essence, the Bitcoin mining difficulty adjustment keeps Bitcoin block frequency steady, no matter the amount of total network hashrate.

What About the Halving?

“If prices do not recover, the hashrate will fall — and when the halving hits, it will fall again,” wrote Bendiksen. “This is not a problem for Bitcoin, nor is it unprecedented.” 

And it’s not always the biggest bitcoin mining groups that will survive a major bitcoin price recession, contrary to what you may be hearing. It will be the groups that have the cheapest energy costs and the newest, most efficient hardware.

“The halving is still a couple months away and many miners are already closing up shop,” Bendiksen said in a follow-up interview with Bitcoin Magazine. “So, at the time of the halving, we will likely be in a completely different difficulty environment than now. Recent estimates show that as much as 25 percent of the peak-level hashrate may already have been turned off.”

While CoinShares suggests that post-halving mining will be different than the current and near-future mining environment, Bendiksen does believe today’s status offers an insightful window.

“For all of those who are worried about the halving, this is a perfect prelude because the end effect on miners is the exact same,” he wrote in his statement. “Hence, the hashrate dynamics we’re likely to see in the upcoming weeks will be an excellent parallel to those we might also see after the halving in May.”

Bendiksen acknowledged that some of the higher-cost miners may drop out after the halving, but he also sees mining companies stabilizing and building for the foreseeable future.

Building the Mining Infrastructure of the Future

Meanwhile, Blockstream Mining is quietly building its mining business with facilities in Quebec, Canada and Georgia, USA, with over 300 MW of energy and a thriving colocation service offering equipment, space, bandwidth and power rental for miners who can benefit from inexpensive energy without needing to negotiate separately with local authorities. 

According to Blockstream CSO Samson Mow, the company has taken steps to be ready for the halving, come what may. Despite the current turmoil, it is focused on the long term.

“For Blockstream’s mining operations, our electricity and operational costs are low enough that we can outlast most miners and be the last ones standing,” Mow told Bitcoin Magazine in an interview. “Also, we’ve mined bitcoins for quite some time and we HODL for the medium term, so a price drop during the halving would actually have no impact for us.”

Mow noted that, while it’s hard to predict the price, he believes some inefficient miners may need to shut off, while most miners will be fine through the halving.

“I think the bitcoin price will recover to a point where, post-halving, it will still be profitable to mine BTC,” Mow said. “Even if that doesn’t happen, it’s not likely we will see a massive drop in hashrate. Many miners are already on the latest generation of equipment and have already recouped those costs, so they only have to deal with opex [operational expenditures].” 

Investors Are More Cautious But Still Interested in Bitcoin Mining

Ryan Porter, head of business development for mining-focused financial services and brokerage firm BitOoda, was busy fielding inquiries about new North American mining opportunities in December 2019.

Now, he said, he’s still getting inquiries but potential mining companies are more cautious and want to lock in competitive energy pricing.

“Overall, what we’re seeing is the miners that were well positioned to be profitable after the halving are still well positioned now, where the miners that would have needed to shutter operations have had to fast track those plans,” Porter told Bitcoin Magazine in a phone interview. 

“We’ve seen hashrate fall precipitously as now unprofitable mining rigs are being taken offline, and conservative operators who were thoughtful about managing their bitcoin price risk are now looking to purchase hardware at distressed prices.”

Porter is confident that the best-managed mining operations that have inexpensive power sources and efficient computers will survive the halving. What he’s seeing is the next stage in the evolution and maturation of the mining industry.

“Where we are starting to see a change in planning for miners is how they’re approaching risk management,” he added. “We had previously engaged with miners on implementing BTC price-hedging programs, and we’ve had quite a few of those firms reach out to us over the past week to start a meaningful risk management engagement.”

The CoinShares team is confident that bitcoin and its critical mining industry will ride out the coronavirus storm. In his interview with Bitcoin Magazine, Bendiksen noted that, unlike the fiat monetary system, the bitcoin system is “run coldly and unemotionally by a network of computers according to pre-set rules.”

“These computers never need to work from home, never get sick, scared or panicked and can not be influenced to print money by charismatic or powerful politicians, even in the most challenging times,” he said. “They simply execute their code as prescribed, no matter what is happening in the world.”

Mining is one of Bitcoin’s most critical practices, but also one of its most misunderstood.

Our guide to bitcoin mining covers everything from the basics of where bitcoin come from and why this process is called “mining” to bitcoin mining centralization and energy use. You’ll find detailed information on bitcoin mining hardwarebitcoin mining poolsbitcoin mining profitabilitybitcoin mining legality and more.

And, if you’re looking for something specific, we have hundreds of articles that have taken deeper dives into the mining industry since the earliest days of Bitcoin.

Get started with “What is Bitcoin Mining?”!

The post Coronavirus, the Halving and a Price Drop: Bitcoin Mining Marches On appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Source: https://bitcoinmagazine.com/articles/coronavirus-the-halving-and-a-price-drop-bitcoin-mining-marches-on?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=coronavirus-the-halving-and-a-price-drop-bitcoin-mining-marches-on

Blockchain

The Countdown: Cardano (ADA) to Reach Full Decentralization on March 31st

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Less than a year after launching its IOHK-owned network of federated nodes, Cardano is on schedule to reach full decentralization at the end of March 2021. At that point, the already established network of over 1,800 community pools will be responsible for producing all new blocks.

Cardano Goes for Full Decentralization

With the approaching so-called D (=0) day, IOHK, the company behind the popular blockchain project Cardano, published a post highlighting the latest milestone in its development.

Cardano is on track to get out of the realm of centralization in less than a month. The post explained that upon the release of the Shelley update in July 2020, the developers built the network in a way that every block was produced by IOHK’s network of federated nodes.

This caused some confusion within the cryptocurrency community as such an approach was the “antithesis of decentralization.” However, the statement justified this somewhat controversial decision with enhanced security – “a wise approach for the near term while the stake pool operator (SPO) network got up and running.”

Furthermore, Cardano’s developers built in an automatic readjustment process, which reduced the parameter that governs what percentage of transactions are processed by the genesis nodes (referred to as d) at a rate of 0.02 per epoch. This means an increase by 2% in community block production every five days.

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Thus, the community received a more significant role in block production over time, which led to the current situation – only 12% of blocks are produced by federated nodes. The number will continue to gradually decrease until it reached zero (also known as D=0 Day) on March 31st.

Upon doing so, the network will become “fully decentralized,” as “D=0 pushes power to the edges.”

ADA Price Update

While the Cardano community is patiently anticipating the D=0 day, the native cryptocurrency has been on a roll since the start of the year, despite the recent retracements.

ADA entered 2020 at about $0,18 before it skyrocketed to a new all-time high just shy of $1.5. Following this 730% surge, the asset retraced slightly intact with last week’s market crash but has remained well above the $1 tag.

Naturally, ADA’s price surge impacted the market capitalization as well. As such, ADA surpassed other altcoins like Binance Coin and Ripple and is currently the 3rd largest cryptocurrency by market cap.

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Source: https://cryptopotato.com/the-countdown-cardano-ada-to-reach-full-decentralization-on-march-31st/

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Ripple’s CEO: SEC Lawsuit Did Not Affect Business in Asia Pacific

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Ripple’s CEO Brad Garlinghouse told Reuters in an interview today that the company is still conducting and growing its business in the Asia Pacific region despite the SEC legal case against Ripple and its executives. 

The last four months have been some of the toughest for Ripple after the company was slammed with a $1.3 billion lawsuit by the United States Security and Exchange Commission (SEC). The regulator alleged that Ripple and its executives, including Garlinghouse, conducted an unregistered securities offering using XRP. 

News of the lawsuit spurred panic, and some major crypto exchanges offering services to U.S. clients were quick to delist XRP from their platforms. Ripple’s partner Moneygram also pulled the brakes on its alliance with the company following the SEC fiasco.

The price of XRP suffered severely, and the once-third-largest cryptocurrency by market cap now ranks seventh on CoinMarketCap.

No Fallout In Asia

Despite the company’s mishap in the United States, Garlinghouse noted that Ripple has continued its operation without hassle across Asia, especially Japan, thanks to the regulatory clarity in the region. 

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“It (the lawsuit) has hindered activity in the United States, but it has not really impacted what’s going on for us in Asia Pacific. We have been able to continue to grow the business in Asia and Japan because we’ve had regulatory clarity in those markets,” Ripple’s CEO said during the interview.

Garlinghouse believes the lack of a clear regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies in the United States is a hindrance to innovation and the SEC lawsuit is an attack on all crypto. However, he said that Ripple will not let the regulator bully the industry.

An Attack On All 

The CEO, alongside Ripple’s co-founder Chris Larsen, recently filed two separate motions, calling for the dismissal of the lawsuit against them and the company. 

Garlinghouse described the SEC action as a “regulatory overreach.” Ripple and its executive want US regulators to treat XRP as a virtual currency just like Bitcoin and Ether, but the SEC continues to insist that it is a security. 

With a settlement very unlikely at this point, both parties have agreed to August 16, 2021, as the discovery phase deadline, during which they will present all evidence and argument.

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Source: https://cryptopotato.com/ripples-ceo-sec-lawsuit-did-not-affect-business-in-asia-pacific/

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Bitfury’s US Bitcoin mining subsidiary to go public via $2B SPAC merger

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Cipher Mining Technologies Inc. a subsidiary of blockchain development firm Bitfury has inked a $2 billion merger deal with Nasdaq-listed Good Works Acquisition Corp — a special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC. Both companies have entered into a business combination agreement.

According to a press release issued on Friday the merger will see Bitfury’s U.S. Bitcoin (BTC) mining enterprise become a publicly-listed company under the banner Cipher Mining Inc.

In addition to the combined $2 billion valuation for Cipher, investors like Morgan Stanley-backed Counterpoint Group and Fidelity Management and Research company will also lead a $425 million funding round.

This additional cash influx will proceed via a private investment in public equity, or PIPE, funding round. Bitfury will also provide a $50 million investment-in-kind to add to the $170 million left over from the October 2020 Good Works initial public offering, thus setting the combined company’s gross cash holdings at $595 million.

Commenting on the merger, Cipher Mining CEO Tyler Page remarked that the deal was a significant step in the emergence of properly capitalized Bitcoin mining enterprises, adding:

“With this transaction, we will be able to combine the formidable skill sets and technologies developed by Bitfury Group over the past 10 years with what we believe will be a leadership position on the global cost curve, and thereby create a true leader in the Bitcoin mining industry.”

With the merger expected to close in Q2 2021, Cipher is looking to achieve a 745 megawatts mining capacity by end of 2025. The company says it hopes to cross the 445 MW milestone between the end of 2021 and Q2 2022.

Cipher is the latest Bitcoin mining establishment to pursue a public listing albeit via a merger with a SPAC entity. As previously reported by Cointelegraph, Australian green energy Bitcoin mining outfit Iris Energy is set for a $39 million IPO in the summer.

With designs towards 745 MW in mining capacity, Cipher is also the latest example of the expanding Bitcoin mining outlay in North America. While China still dominates the BTC hash rate distribution, firms in the U.S. and Canada are reportedly increasing their inventory in the quest to dilute China’s control of the Bitcoin mining arena.

Meanwhile, Chinese miners are coming under significant regulatory pressure from municipal authorities. Earlier in March, reports emerged of crypto miners planning to exit Inner Mongolia amid energy consumption concerns.

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Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/bitfury-s-us-bitcoin-mining-subsidiary-to-go-public-via-2b-spac-merger

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